Engaged employees tend to split their time between remote and in-office work, equipping this configuration requires a holistic strategy.
If there’s one factor that unites the efforts of enterprise IT, HR, and Facilities/Real Estate professionals, it’s the drive to improve employee engagement. Whether your job is to provide employees with technology, workspaces, or policies and practices to guide their work, your strategy should be based on what will best improve employee engagement. And a recent report from Gallup
indicates that allowing remote work can be a major factor in better employee engagement.
Stepping back for a second, what exactly is employee engagement? Here’s what Gallup has to say:
Engagement is not an exercise in making employees feel happy — it's a strategy for better business outcomes. It is true that engaged employees are more enthusiastic, energetic and positive, feel better about their work and workplace, and have better physical health, but engagement isn't a perk for leaders to dole out, it's a way leaders can improve KPIs. As decades of Gallup research shows, when employees are engaged their performance soars: Highly engaged workplaces can claim 41% lower absenteeism, 40% fewer quality defects, and 21% higher profitability.
Gallup’s research found that the optimal amount of remote work is three to four days a week. Among those who work remotely three to four days a week, 41% reported feeling engaged with work. Ironically, two groups tied for the lowest level of engagement — those who work remotely all the time, and those who never work remotely; just 30% of each of these groups reported feeling engaged.
The idea of remote work pairs naturally with the concept of flex time, and here also Gallup found employee-friendly policies pay off. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they would switch jobs to get flex time, and 53% said work-life balance is “very important” to them.
All of this suggests that it’s never been more important for IT, HR, and Facilities/Real Estate leaders to work together in crafting workplace strategies. If your most engaged employees split their time between remote and in-office work, equipping this configuration requires a holistic strategy. To accommodate the remote work days, IT and HR would take the lead — IT making sure that employees have the technology tools they need to support their work away from the office, while HR provides the support from a human-factors perspective, so workers understand policies and best practices when they work remotely.
And when these same folks are working in the office, all three groups must come together: IT has to make sure that applications and other technology interfaces work seamlessly relative to the remote-work experience; the office space should accommodate remote workers while continuing to support those who have to come in every day; and HR must advocate for facilities and policies that make the most of the physical space and the time that employees spend there.
By now, we’re a couple of decades into the remote-work revolution, but it seems that many enterprises are still struggling to get it right. By working together, HR, IT, and Facilities/Real Estate can make the case and provide the means and spaces to offer a better chance at success.